Latest evaluation from the IIHS for trucks returned very different results than the same test did for small cars.
Last week, we reported on how several small cars struggled in the revised side impact crash test conducted by the IIHS. The testing agency now reveals that the small truck category fared a lot better. Five of the six models tested were awarded good or acceptable ratings while just one was slammed with a marginal rating.
Sitting at the top of the class is the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Honda Ridgeline crew cabs with their good ratings. Acceptable ratings were given to the Nissan Frontier and soon-to-be replaced Ford Ranger crew cabs, while the aging Toyota Tacoma crew cab was handed a marginal rating.
IIHS Senior Research Engineer Becky Mueller applauded the segment's performance and explained why these cars did so well. "Their high ride height means that the barrier we use to represent a striking vehicle hits the strong door sill structures directly," said Mueller. "This likely prevented excessive intrusion into the occupant compartment, except in the case of the Tacoma."
Aiding the Colorado, Canyon, and Ridgeline in achieving their good rating was a solid structure and safety cage design which lowers the risk of most injuries apart from pelvic damage. The Frontier proved to have the strongest structure, but due to the dummy's head making contact with the C-pillar through the side curtain airbag, it was downgraded to an acceptable rating. This same issue with the dummy's head applied to the Ranger.
As previously reported, the IIHS upped the ante on its side crash test to resemble the heavier cars that frequent most national roads. The mass of the barrier has been increased to 4,200 pounds and now strikes the car at 37 mph as opposed to the original 3,300-lbs barrier that was moving at 31 mph. It's no wonder that the trucks did better than last week's batch of small cars.
It is good to see that crash tests are becoming stricter, but this readjustment of the side crash test paints a somber picture that highlights how the decision to move to a bigger car leaves those in smaller models more at risk, despite them being outfitted with a decent level of safety features. Crossovers are all the rave these days, but that's not without cost to the average fellow road user - or even pedestrians.